An efficient European transport system is one of the key factors in the correct functioning of the European Union’s internal market. Indeed, the transport sector accounts for approximately 7% of the EU’s gross domestic product and 5% of all jobs in EU Member States. It also makes a significant contribution to the achievement of one of the EU’s primary objectives – the free movement of persons and goods between Member States.

Transport policy objectives

The European Commission’s White Paper ‘European transport policy for 2010: time to decide’, published in 2001, lays down four basic goals for the direction of the EU’s transport policy up to 2010:

  • shifting the balance between modes of transport in an effort to lessen the environmental impacts of the transport sector
  • improving the transport infrastructure
  • improving the status of transport service users (consumers)
  • reinforcing the EU’s importance in the transport sector on a global scale

The European Commission’s specific initiatives should result, inter alia, in the revitalisation of the railways; improvements in road transport quality (including drivers’ working conditions); support for inland water transport and marine transport; reductions in the negative environmental impacts of air transport; development of a trans-European transport network; an increase in the safety of individual modes of transport (e.g. a 50% reduction in the number of road accidents by 2010); protection of passenger rights; and the implementation of the Galileo satellite navigation project.

Major topical issues in the field of EU transport policy


The Eurovignette Directive lays down rules the Member States must follow when introducing systems for charging heavy goods vehicles, whether in the form of motorway toll stickers or tolls, and setting the amounts of these charges. The primary aim of the amendment to this Directive is to enable Member States to include certain external costs in these charges (costs resulting from the negative environmental impacts of transport). More specifically, these are costs caused by air pollution, noise pollution and traffic congestion.

Road package

The road package includes three draft regulations defining the conditions governing market access in international freight and coach transport and the conditions for the occupation of road transport operators. The package, inter alia, lays down rules for the operation of national road haulage services by a transport operator not established in the given country (cabotage). The Czech Presidency will seek the adoption of this package.

Amendment to Directive 2002/15 on the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities

Directive 2002/15 establishes minimum requirements in relation to the organisation of working time, periods of availability, night work and other aspects of labour law, in order to improve the health and safety protection of drivers and other travelling staff performing mobile road transport activities.

Single European Sky

The aim of the Single European Sky (SES) programme, made up of four pieces of legislation, is to assist the development of a harmonised air traffic control system. The new structuring of the airspace into functional blocks irrespective of national borders in the future will reduce delays, costs and emissions, and will ensure a higher level of security. The proposed revision of this legislation, which the Czech Republic will strive to have adopted, aims to tackle the persisting problems associated with the realisation of the programme.

SESAR project

The aim of this project is to create a new-generation European system for air traffic control in Europe, essential for the sustainable growth of air transport in Europe in the next 20 years. SESAR is the technological part of the Single European Sky programme.

Amendment to Regulation 216/2008 establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

EASA is one of the European Community agencies. EASA’s main task is ensuring a high and uniform level of aviation safety in Europe. For this purpose the agency issues licences and certificates itself or through national aviation authorities. The proposal aims at laying down uniform rules for airport certification and air traffic control systems.

European satellite navigation programmes

These programmes are EGNOS (to amplify the signals of the US GPS system and the Russian GLONASS system) and Galileo. Galileo is the first European space programme financed and managed by the European Union together with the European Space Agency.

This programme is expected to contribute to the development of numerous applications in fields directly or indirectly connected with EU policy areas such as transport (identifying the position and measuring the speed of a vehicle), insurance, collection of motorway tolls, law enforcement, customs duty and excise duty collection, agriculture and fisheries.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:01

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